The tech-enabled dog park and bar Skiptown is opening outposts in Dallas, Nashville and Atlanta.
Why it matters: Skiptown, which opened this summer in South End, is an entrepreneurial success story for Charlotte. CEO Meggie Williams tells me she’s committed to keeping the tech company’s headquarters here.
- Yes, a tech company. While Skiptown’s key services like boarding and grooming are for canines, everything is connected to an app built in-house.
Expansion was always the goal, Williams says, but the pandemic “supercharged” those plans. “Because of our large footprint and spacious outdoor area, we’ve become a sort of refuge for people looking for a safe place to hang out where their dog can play and run around,” she says.
Williams was able to pivot from her former dog-walking app called “Skipper” to the Skiptown model in 2020 and expand fast with private and venture capital backing.
- The Dallas location will open by year end. Nashville and Atlanta Skiptowns will open in 2022.
What’s happening: Adoption rates have soared during the pandemic as many individuals living and working at home seek companionship. Locally, CMPD’s Animal Care & Control saved 90% of shelter animals this year, an all-time high.
In that way, the pandemic has presented a new opportunity for a business like Skiptown. “We know those pups are going to need us when they get older or when some of their parents go back to working at an office,” Williams tells me.
[Go deeper: How Skiptown works]
By the numbers: Over 10,000 humans and 12,000 dogs are now clients of Skiptown just five months after the place opened.
- Skiptown has logged over 35,000 visits to the bar and park, Williams says.
- She says some clients have even moved to be closer to Skiptown.
What’s next: With warmer weather and more dog-friendly apartments, Williams has found the dog-crazed South is Skiptown’s sweet spot, but has plans to expand north and west in the future.
Read more: 6 dog-friendly things to do in Charlotte